David Plath

Long engagements: Maturity in modern Japan

Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1980.

We do not become actualized as a person simply by playing a role of cathecting a drive; what we are doing must be recognized and validated by others.  People can continue to grow, says the interactionist view, but only to the extent that others allow or confirm that growth.

Growth then becomes in part a property of others, particularly of those who are one's consociates.  The term may be an unfamiliar one, but it is apt here.  It derives from the work of Alfred Schultz and the phenomenologists.  If "associates" are persons you encounter somewhere, sometime, "consociates" are people you relate with across time andin some degree of intimacy.  They are friends, lovers, kinsmen, colleagues, classmates.  Figuratively speaking, they are empaneled as a special jury to examine and confirm the course of your being and becoming.  Your biography would make little sense if it did not mention them.  Consociates thus are at once our primary social resource and restraint. ... Consociates begin to shape our personal course even before we are born, and may continue to renegotiate the meaning our life long after we are dead.  To this extent, a person is a collective product.  We all must "author" our own biographies, using the idiom of our heritage, but our biographies must be "authorized" by those who live them with us.  (p. 8-9)

created on Sun Nov 29 09:26:10 2009